McCormack Speaks

June 15, 2017
by justinmaher

Mother Knows Best: At the Intersection of Low-wage Work, Public Assistance and Child Care

by Robert Turner, McCormack Graduate School Senior Fellow

“Current policy approaches make it impossible for families to create a stable life.” Mother and daughter

This blunt assessment—and the visionary yet common sense proposals accompanying it— are part of a Ford-Foundation-funded study and partnership of Françoise Carré, research director of the Center for Social Policy (CSP), 9to5 National Association of Working Women, and Lisa Dodson of Brandeis University. The study is titled “Mothers Know Best; At the intersection of low-wage work, public assistance and child care.”

Far too often, their report concludes, federal, state, and local policies smother the efforts of families to lift themselves and their children out of poverty.

The research was conducted in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Georgia. In addition to policy analysis, it included in-depth focus groups and follow-up interviews with one hundred low-income parents, mostly mothers, whose real-life frustrations inform the work. “The whole system sets people up to fail,” said one mother in Georgia. A grandmother added, “It punishes people who are trying to do better.”

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • Consider wages and public assistance jointly to eliminate “cliff effects” that, for instance, wipe out a young mother’s child care subsidy when she gets a modest pay raise.
  • Focus on the children, especially their safety, health, and stability.
  • Promote work that includes a pathway out of poverty, such as education and training for more skilled positions.
  • Recognize and dismantle the barrier of discrimination.
  • Listen to affected women, and include them in policy-making councils.

The study is part of the Integrating Resources to Strengthen Low-income Families project, a partnership of 9to5, the National Association of Working Women; the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis University; and the Center for Social Policy (CSP) at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston.

Dr. Carré’s colleagues in this report were now retired 9to5 Executive Director Linda Meric and Dr. Lisa Dodson, senior scientist and faculty at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis.

Susan Crandall, the CSP director, said the report complements CSP’s “research agenda for the On Solid Ground coalition”, which aims to improve housing stability and economic mobility through a cross-sector, research-based, and family centered approach.

June 2, 2017
by justinmaher

Professor Christian Weller Reflects on Obama’s Economic Legacy

In their new Center for American Progress issue brief, Public Policy and Public Affairs Professor Christian Weller and CAP Associate Director Brendan Duke analyze a diverse range of metrics to shed better light on the Obama administration’s economic legacy. 

Christian WellerObama’s Legacy on the Economy Is Anything But a Mess

The economy improved markedly under former President Barack Obama, from the start of 2009 through the end of 2016. Faced with the specter of another Great Depression in winter 2009, President Obama enacted a series of policies that helped the economy avoid that fate. The economy was growing again by the second half of 2009, and jobs followed suit by early 2010.

Read in full at Center for American Progress.

May 26, 2017
by justinmaher

The Kennedy-McCormack Connection Remembered

by Robert Turner, McCormack Graduate School Senior Fellow

President Kennedy delivers the 1963 State of the Union Address alongside Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Speaker of the House John W. McCormack. (Source:

President Kennedy delivers the 1963 State of the Union alongside Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Speaker of the House John W. McCormack. Image: Cecil W. Stoughton

John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday on May 29 raises complex thoughts and emotions for nearly all Americans.

One element for those of us here at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies is Kennedy’s relationship with our namesake.

Complex doesn’t begin to describe the intertwining of their careers, or the historic impact it had.

Hundreds of books have been written about Kennedy; only one serious work about McCormack, the new biography from Garrison Nelson, a professor at the University of Vermont and the Robert C. Wood Visiting Professor here at the McCormack Graduate School in 2014. “John William McCormack; A Political Biography” is truly an exceptional combination of scholarship, research, and readability. It will doubtless revive interest in McCormack – member of Congress for 43 years, and speaker of the U.S. House for nine years — as one of the most powerful figures in mid-20th century America.

The overall personal relationship between the two men and their families provides rich material, including a variety of Boston political cross-currents. People remember the tough “Teddy-Eddie” Senate campaign of 1962, when Edward J. McCormack Jr., the sitting attorney general and nephew of the speaker, opposed Edward M. Kennedy, brother of the president, who, at 30, was barely old enough to seek the office.  Continue Reading →

May 19, 2017
by justinmaher

Conflict Resolution Professor Wins Award for Innovation in Online Teaching

Professor Karen Ross (front center) with the Master's Project/Thesis Presenters. Image by: Jeffrey Pugh

Professor Karen Ross (front center) with the Master’s Project/Thesis Presenters.                   Image by: Jeffrey Pugh

Dr. Karen Ross, assistant professor in McCormack’s Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security & Global Governance has won the 2017 UMass Boston Innovation in Online Teaching Award for her efforts in developing and teaching dialogue processes through technology.  This is the fourth year this award has been given, joining two other awards for face-to-face teaching and community-engaged teaching.  Ross was recognized, along with winners of the other awards, at a ceremony during the luncheon of the University Conference on Teaching, Learning, and Technology on Friday, May 12, 2017.

Read more.

May 17, 2017
by justinmaher

From Microsoft to McCormack

In this profile from the Microsoft Alumni Network, Center for Social Policy Director Susan Crandall reflects on her early days at Microsoft and how it fostered her passion for creating access and opportunity through workforce development.

Susan Crandall

Susan Crandall

“Susan moved across the country to start in a PhD program at the University of Washington in Organizational Behavior. And then it hit her: To become an authority on how organizations work, she first needed to gain her own experience working at a corporation. Susan took leave of her PhD program and went looking for a job. What she found was a position at Microsoft in the newly formed HR Executive and Management Development Group.”

Read more.

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